About this same time last year I was in India celebrating the birthday of my friend Annie Mariel. During this trip – my second time in India, but my first time to Varanasi – I learned about Chai Masala Tea. Chai is a Hindi word for tea and this delicious concoction is typically made with black tea and a mixture of spices –cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, among others.
This delicious tea with milk is offered to any welcoming guests – at a store, at a home, even when watching the sunrise from a boat in the Ganges…
And even though I have enjoyed this tea during my last two travels in India, I should not consume it on a regular basis because the black tea contains caffeine and caffeine neither agrees with me or is karma-free. Caffeine is a stimulant and should be better avoided.
So to celebrate the anniversary of my first encounter with Chai Latte, I wanted to share with you my own caffeine-free version I now make at home.
1 ½ cups water ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces 2 cinnamon sticks 5 pieces of star anise About 10 cloves ½ cup of evaporated milk 2 tbs agave nectar Ground cinnamon (optional)
- In a small sauce pan add the water, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Bring to a boil and steep all the ingredients in that boiling water for about 10 minutes. Turn off the stove and leave those spices to continue to steep for about 30 minutes more.
- Strain about ½ cup of the spiced water into a mug and add the evaporated milk. Season with agave nectar. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon on top for garnish.
Next time, I’ll make it with sweetened condensed milk to see if I can achieve even a creamier consistency and will not need to add any agave nectar.